Some have contacted the Diocese seeking directives related to the Coronavirus and asking about preventative action to avoid any potential spread of sickness, especially when people are gathered for worship. Therefore, effective today, I am asking all Pastors to take the following steps until concerns related to the Coronavirus have dissipated:
- Suspend offering the Precious Blood of Christ at all Masses. Be sure to have low-gluten hosts available for those who have an allergy and normally receive only the Precious Blood.
- Instead of shaking hands at the Sign of Peace, invite parishioners to use some other gesture (e.g., a nod of the head, a smile or a spoken greeting). Another option is to omit entirely the call to exchange the Sign of Peace.
- Ask parishioners not to hold hands during the Our Father, if that is the practice of the parish.
- Replace the Holy Water in the church more frequently and make sure that handrails, restrooms and the tops of pews are properly disinfected and that hand sanitizer is available at all church entrances.
Please remind your parishioners that if they are exhibiting flu-like symptoms, they are not obliged to attend Sunday Mass.
Also, please remember to pray for an end to this illness and to keep all those who have died from and who are adversely affected by the Coronavirus in your prayers.
Thank you for your cooperation in implementing these measures.